Definition of hue and cry in English:

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hue and cry

Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)yo͞o ən ˈkrī/


1A loud clamor or public outcry.
Example sentences
  • Blocking of major city roads during peak hours and uninhibited use of loud speakers and other accessories for the pageants have raised a hue and cry among the public.
  • In any case, I doubt that during World War II there was a comparable hue and cry about the absence of a ‘plan’ and the failure to own up to responsibility every time we suffered a setback.
  • ‘I don't think people living in Cepen Park are fully aware of the proposed changes, but when they do become aware then I'm sure there will be a big hue and cry,’ said Coun Northey.
1.1 historical A loud cry calling for the pursuit and capture of a criminal. In former English law the cry had to be raised by the inhabitants of a hundred in which a robbery had been committed if they were not to become liable for the damages suffered by the victim.
Example sentences
  • Reference was made to Crouther's case where a constable was indicted for refusing to make a hue and cry after notice of a burglary committed in the night.
  • A hue and cry is raised; Sikes, trying to escape, accidentally hangs himself, and the rest of the gang are secured and Fagin executed.
  • If the hue and cry was described as "raised justly", it meant that the person was guilty.


Late Middle English: from the Anglo-Norman French legal phrase hu e cri, literally 'outcry and cry', from Old French hu 'outcry' (from huer 'to shout').

  • In early times any person witnessing or surprising a criminal committing a crime could raise a hue and cry, calling for others to join in their pursuit and capture. In law the cry had to be raised by the inhabitants of the district in which the crime was committed, or otherwise the pursuers were liable for any damages suffered by the victim. The origin of the expression is in legal French hu e cri ‘outcry and cry’. The first element has no connection with hue ‘colour’, which is a native English word related to Swedish hy ‘skin, complexion’, and originally meant ‘form, appearance’, only developing the colour sense in the mid 19th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hue and cry

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